Word Is Out For Growing Literary Festival

Campaign: Off the Shelf Festival of Words
Client: Sheffield City Council’s Major Events Service
Timescale: September-November 2012
Fixed project fee


MK has been proud to support Off the Shelf Festival of Words for the last 3 years, which in 2012 celebrated its 21st year. In previous years MK has helped the festival secure more national media recognition. This year we wanted to move up a gear. This is a challenge as there is significant competition for column inches with other much larger festivals taking place during the same busy period on the UK’s literary calendar, who also have long term partnerships with national media.


• To drive awareness of the diverse festival and its many events
• To raise the profile of the festival by securing quality regional and national coverage
• To maintain media interest for the duration of the festival using established relationships with key journalists

Strategy and Plan

Upon the release of the festival’s 2012 programme of events, press packs were distributed to key media including the identified ‘first and only’ information and a bank of quotes. MK then organised and coordinated a launch event, involving sneak preview performances from some of the festival’s high-profile attendees. Throughout the campaign period MK distributed regular bulletins that included highlights to target national and regional media, aimed at developing a dialogue and creating relevant hooks for specific press. This resulted in regular coverage featuring the devised key messages that helped to anchor the festival’s image. MK worked with the in-house team to run social media, which proved an important tool in increasing awareness of the festival and its events and to also reach out to a new demographic.

Measurement and Evaluation

The project secured 189 regional and national press hits, including broadcast items on BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Today Programme’ and BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. National coverage included repeated hits in The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, as well as online publication Culture24. The campaign achieved an increase of quality features in key regional media including Yorkshire Post. Over the 3 month period the festival’s Twitter account received an influx of over 400 followers, which still continues to grow, and has established itself firmly on the cultural social media landscape by tactical involvement in Twitter ‘communities’ and the following of key influencers, even receiving retweets from Telegraph Books. Live tweeting from events encouraged a wealth of user engagement and worked towards increasing the amount of followers.


The amount of national print and online coverage increased by over 70% year on year. Social media, including live tweeting from select events, was a major step for the festival this year, which led to an increased online buzz and conversation around the events and the festival as a whole. MK also ensured that the well established relationships with national journalists were maintained, which led to a repeated coverage for the festival and an interest to be informed of Off the Shelf 2013.